A rights-based framework

15 November 2009 - A Workshop on Openness in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


Concise Description:
In recent years, the Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards (DCOS) has
focused on governmental procurement and on standard setting
organisations (SSOs). DCOS intends to advance its work on these topics.
Additionally, we feel a need to examine Open Standards from the
perspective of rights.

There is a complex and entangled relationship between the rights of
consumers, citizens, non-citizens, governments, competing corporations,
etc., within which the promotion/adoption/enforcement of standards plays
a part. For instance, governments have a duty towards their people to
ensure that the data that they hold in trust for the people is easily
accessible to them and can be reused by them. Still, governments are
also the largest consumers of standards, and by adopting certain
standards, force the public to make certain choices as well. Similarly,
ensuring unhindered portability from one product to another comparable
one, and interoperability of comparable devices and applications should
be seen as part of that set of minimum rights of consumers, inclusive of
governments, that corporations are obliged to respect. Part of the aim
of the workshop will be to disentangle the relationships between some of
these rights and map out some directions which a rights-based framework
can take. To further establish the translation of these rights from
principles to practice, we propose a workshop in the format of a
technical workshop.

The workshop will help bring out the issues that are currently being
faced and likely to be encountered in the future by governments,
consumers and the public, addressing specific areas such as the needs of
the disabled community and perspectives of developing countries, and
the possible solutions that governments and vendors can offer through
implementation of open standards. The discussion would primarily revolve
around issues of governmental procurement of software, open
e-governance, portability, and interoperability, which affect everything
from communications protocols, documents, multimedia, and databases, to

The participants present a diverse range of stakeholder, from both developed and developing countries:

1) Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web Consortium / Web Foundation
2) Steve Mutkoski, Microsoft, USA
3) Rishab Ghosh, UNU-MERIT, The Netherlands
4) Aslam Raffee, Sun Microsystems, South Africa
5) James Love, Knowledge Ecology International
6) OSOSS, Government of the Netherlands (Ineke Schop)
7) IDABC, EU (Karel de Vriendt)
8) MAMPU, Malaysia (Normah binti Md Yusof)
9) Ministry of Commerce, China: (An Baisheng)
10) Department of Information Technology, India
11) Government of the United States of America
12) Andrew Updegrove, Gesmer Updegrove LLP
13) Sunil Abraham, Centre for Internet and Society, India